Archive for the 'Make Poverty History' Category

Along with many other unions and community organizations, PSAC BC is a supporter and endorser of the Living Wage for Families Campaign. Here are some updates and news items from the campaign

PSAC has joined with unions from across Canada, to show solidarity with the people of Pakistan who are struggling to gain access to disaster relief after weeks of devastating floods. The union announced a $30,000 donation to Oxfam Canada this week, contributing to more than $200,000 pledged by the Canadian labour movement to various relief efforts.

“Food crops and seeds have been decimated and nearly a million homes washed away. An estimated 8 million people have been affected by the floods and are in urgent need of emergency aid,” said John Gordon, PSAC National President. “Unless humanitarian aid reaches the affected communities soon, more people will succumb to water borne diseases and potential starvation.”

PSAC’s donation is being channelled through the union’s Social Justice Fund, which was established in 2003 to support initiatives to help eliminate poverty and injustice in Canada and around the world. Operating from a position of solidarity not charity, the fund advocates for political change and works with union partners around the world to help defend and re-build public services.

“Poor people are facing the worst of the impact from extreme climate change around the globe,” said Gordon. “Our union is committed to supporting people affected by natural disasters, while also advocating for the Canadian government to unfreeze its aid budget and take substantive steps to lower Canada’s green house gas emissions.”

PSAC urges its members to give generously to help the people of Pakistan during this critical time by donating to Oxfam or the charity of their choice.

The BC Regional Council recently endorsed the Red Tent campaign – their goal is to persuade the federal government to enact a funded National Housing Strategy that will end homelessness and ensure secure, adequate, accessible and affordable housing for all persons living in Canada – please check out the information below and consider having your Local or Committee sponsor a tent.

In Solidarity, Kay Sinclair, Regional Executive Vice-President, BC

Sponsor A Red Tent

It’s been almost two decades since the federal government handed off responsibility for housing to the provinces, making Canada the only G-8 country without a national housing strategy. The end result is a housing crisis that the UN described as a “national emergency.”

Pivot Legal Society’s Red Tent campaign’s goal is a funded national housing strategy that will end homelessness and ensure secure, adequate, accessible and affordable housing for all people living in Canada. Modeled after a successful campaign in Paris, Red Tents are a symbol of Canada’s housing crisis and the growing support for a funded national housing strategy.


We can’t fight poverty without Quality Public Services

The Public Service Alliance of Canada invites you to stand together in unity with millions of people around the world to send a message to our leaders that we must STAND UP and TAKE ACTION in support of the eradication of extreme poverty.

Poverty, hunger, illiteracy & disease are world-wide problems. Quality public services support equality, take care of our most vulnerable citizens, provide access to health care, enhance economic opportunity and educate our youth.

Last year, more than 116 million people in 100 countries, nearly 2% of the world’s population, stood up to remind world leaders of their promise to cut extreme poverty by half by 2015. But while the clock is ticking, action is not being taken fast enough.

Visit to find out how to get involved or register an event …

If you are organizing a Stand Up event in Canada, we want to hear from you!

Contact: Janet St. Jean – – at the PSAC Social Justice Fund

Committing to a strong poverty reduction strategy is one of the best things a government can do to fight poverty. Make Poverty History asked the main political parties in the upcoming BC election to commit to implementing a clear poverty reduction strategy if they are elected.

They worked with the BC Poverty Reduction Committee, a coalition of BC-based organizations who asked the three major political parties to let them know where they stand on developing a poverty reduction plan. The parties were sent an open letter calling for a comprehensive plan with targets and timelines, and commitments in 7 different policy areas.

Visit to view the results of the survey.

Income disparity suffered by Indians should trump concerns about other groups, an SFU economist involved in the research says.

By Shannon Proudfoot, Canwest News Service, March 31, 2009

The income gap between aboriginals and other Canadians is so wide it should trump concerns about other ethnic disparities in this country, a Canadian economist says.

“My way of thinking about it is once you start thinking about ethnic disparity in Canada, you should really only be paying attention to aboriginal people,” says Krishna Pendakur, an economics professor at Simon Fraser University. “They’re an order of magnitude worse off than all other ethnic minorities.”

He and his brother Ravi Pendakur, a sociologist at the University of Ottawa, recently completed the largest study of its kind quantifying the exact size of that gap, and the results are stark.

“Those of us who live in Canadian cities have an intuitive awareness that aboriginal people are on average kind of poor,” Pendakur says. “The thing is that if you then push yourself and ask how poor, you don’t really have any answers. We were lacking a quantitative assessment in this area.”

Using an extensive database from the 2001 census, which includes 20 per cent of all Canadian households and 100 per cent of those on aboriginal reserves, the researchers traced the earnings gap of several segments of the aboriginal population, both on reserves and in cities. (more…)

This Saturday, thousands of people from communities across BC will come together to demand immediate government action to end homelessness, build social housing, protect rental housing and raise welfare and minimum wage rates.

Please join us for a family friendly march at noon at the following locations:
-Main and Hastings
-Peace Flame Park (South End of Burrard Street Bridge)

Or join us for speakers and music at the Vancouver Art Gallery at 1:30 where thousands of people will come together and show their support to bring about positive change. Housing is everyone’s issue.

To help you can post a poster in a prominent place: staff room, lounge, common area. If you have any further questions or would like to volunteer for the march please do not hesitate to contact us or check out our website.

Friday, October 24th. Dinner served at 5 pm, panel from 6-8 pm.
Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, 302 Columbia, 1 block west of Main, corner Cordova.
All (including men) welcome!

* Nicholas Blomley: Nicholas is a professor in the Department of Geography at SFU specializing in the politics of property and public space in the DTES. His books include Unsettling the City: Urban Land and the Politics of Property and How Law Matters To Political Geography.
* Ayisha Faruk: Ayisha is a DTES activist, born on the continent of Black People from the Lion Tribe. She is a performing and visual artist, traditional African herbalist, human rights activist born with revolutionary blood in her veins.
* Carol Martin: Carol (Nisga’a Nation) is a member of the DTES Elders Council, is a victim services worker in the DTES, and founder of the Sweetgrass All Nations Healing Centre. She is a strong voice for those who -like her – are survivors of abuse, addictions, and a legacy of colonization.
* Jean Swanson: Jean has been an anti-poverty advocate for over 30 years and is currently working with the Carnegie Community Action Project. She has worked with End Legislated Poverty and has authored the book Poor Bashing: The Politics of Exclusion. She has been a single low-income parent with two children.
* Member of the DEWC Power of Women Group.

Join us at the DTES Women Centre for a panel with some exceptional speakers. We hope to contribute to the movement to eliminate homelessness with a framework of housing justice that analyzes the roots causes of poverty and forms of structural violence that impact poor communities, as well as the global political and economic systems that create and perpetuate poverty and lack of dignified housing.

This event is part of the two-month long series on Housing and Gentrification which includes the “We Declare: Spaces of Housing” artist exhibition featuring the DEWC Power of Women Group and talks hosted by Vancouver Flying University.

For more information contact DEWC Power of WomenProjector call 604 681 8480 x 234.

via Make Poverty History

All the federal party leaders except Stephen Harper have gone on the record answering questions on video about what they would do to tackle global, domestic and Aboriginal poverty.

Check out what the leaders of the Bloc, Greens, Liberals and NDP would do about poverty if elected. And make sure to ask Stephen Harper what he would do, because he wont tell us.

In these short video clips, Stphane Dion, Gilles Duceppe, Jack Layton and Elizabeth May talk about their support for Make Poverty History goals and answer specific questions about reaching the target of giving point seven percent of our income for foreign aid, a national plan to end poverty in Canada and what they would do to narrow the living standards gap between Aboriginal people and the rest of Canada.

Once you have seen the videos, send a message to Stephen Harper asking him to say what he will do to make poverty history. We believe that before Canadians go to the polls they should know what all the party leaders would do to end poverty so that they can make an informed decision about which party is best able to help make poverty history.

Maybe you can get Mr. Harper to go on the record with his plans to fight poverty.

Saturday, June 14 @ 2 pm – starts outside Downtown Eastside Women Centre, 302 Columbia- corner Cordova, just west of Main.
Join women in the Downtown Eastside Women Centre Power of Women Group in the 2nd Annual March for Women’s Housing and March Against Poverty!
We are marching for:
 – Social Housing, Childcare, and Healthcare for all!
 – No more Evictions and No more Condos in the DTES!
 – People Before Olympic Profits!  No Olympics on Stolen Land!
 – Stop Criminalizing the Poor and Scrap Civil City!
 – End Global Hunger and Poverty!
The Power of Women Group is a group at the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre and we do education on social issues. We are a group of women from all walks of life who are either on social assistance, working poor, or homeless; but we are all living in extreme poverty. Many of us are single mothers or have had our children apprehended due to poverty; most of us have chronic physical or mental health issues for example HIV and Hepatitis C; many have drug or alcohol addictions; and a majority have experienced and survived sexual violence and mental, physical, spriritual, and emotional abuse. For indigenous women, we are affected by a legacy of the effects of residential schools and a history of colonization and racism.

For more information contact or call 604-681-8480 x 234

Major Public Forum: We are expecting representatives from all political parties with over 1000 members of the public attending this event.

The topic: Homelessness! What’s happened? What’s next? The number of homeless in Vancouver keeps rising! Learn about innovations in Vancouver!

Hear from Steve Snyder and Tim Richter! (Calgary’s Committee to End Homelessness

  • May 22, 2008 at 7pm (doors open 6:30)
  • St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church
  • Nelson & Burrard, Vancouver
  • (free underground parking from alley)

For more information call: 604-683-4574

via email

The fight against poverty requires justice and equality for women. Around the world, women and girls are more likely to face violence, have fewer rights and receive less education than men. And because women are often denied fair compensation for their work, poverty rates among women are much higher.

Gender equality is a key part of making poverty history. Policies that promote the health, education and rights of women make huge contributions towards alleviating poverty. Any serious attempt to eradicate poverty must work towards gender equality. That’s why to “promote gender equality and empower women” is one of the eight Millenium Development Goals.

So we are asking you to participate in International Women’s Day, this Saturday, March 8, in whatever way you can: learn more about the issues, tell your friends about the day, attend an event or take action online.

Learn more

Make Poverty History is part of a coalition of groups called the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP) See the GCAP International Women’s Day video on YouTube. Read GCAP’s page on the importance of gender equality here

Send and ecard to your friends or attend an event

Remind your friends of the importance of March 8th by sending them an e-card from

Make Poverty History volunteers will be at Women’s Day events across the country this Saturday – why don’t you join them? See events on March 8 here.

Goal is to collect 5,000 pairs by February 14.

Socks can be delivered to:
VDLC office, 20 – 1880 Triumph Street, Vancouver
Reclaiming Our Spirit, 3985 Dumfries, Vancouver

Labour of Love Fundraising Luncheon:
February 14, Thursday, Simon Baker Aboriginal Friendship Centre, 1607 East Hastings

Message from Reclaiming our Spirit:

Hello everyone, homelessness has a thousand faces.  The reasons people are homeless are many and varied.  Many of the homeless have become disconnected from their families and communities.  A broad base of understanding is required to create and build programs and services that will work towards providing support for each and every person who faces homelessness.  Homelessness can affect people of any age, gender or ethnic background, it does not discriminate.  It is that time of year again and Reclaiming Our Spirit will be conducting our 3rd Annual Sock Drive for the Homeless.  We are seeking your support to make this a successful fundraiser.  If you have any questions please do not hesitate to call our office. 

Also as a part of this important community event we will be having our First Annual Labour of Love Fundraising Luncheon at the Chief Simon Baker Room February 14, 2008 at 1607 East Hastings street from 12:00 noon -2:00 pm. All proceeds from this luncheon will go towards the Labour of Love Sock Drive.   All support is appreciated.

via BCFed

Minimum Wage buttonIn conjunction with the PSAC Leadership Training Conference taking place this week in downtown Vancouver, come and take part in the next petitioning event for the B.C. Federation of Labour’s $10 NOW campaign Sat. Oct. 20th.

  • Saturday, Oct. 20, 9:45 am to 12 noon
  • meet at the Port of the World room, Renaissance Hotel, 1133 W. Hastings, Vancouver then;
  • disperse to solicit signatures in downtown Vancouver

It’s an important event because the BC Fed is trying to get as many petition signatures as possible before Nov. 1 – the sixth anniversary of the last time B.C.’s minimum wage was increased. The event is being organized in conjunction with our leadership training conference and is designed to link PSAC leaders with activists who’ve been part of the minimum wage campaign and share skills.

The PSAC will host a lunch for all volunteers back at the Renaissance Hotel, and the BCFed will have a premium for all those who take part. If you’re interested please contact Stephen Howard at the B.C. Federation of Labour, 604-430-1421 or cell 604-220-2965.

stand up and speak out against poverty logoOn October 17, 2007 — The United Nations Day for the Eradication of Poverty — join millions around the world as they STAND UP and SPEAK OUT to Make Poverty History. STAND UP is an innovative and exciting challenge issued by the Global Call to Action Against Poverty and the United Nations Millennium Campaign.

Last year, 23.5 million people worldwide, including 49,000 Canadians, stood up against poverty in a 24 hour period, setting a Guinness World Record.

Show your support for the global fight against poverty and let world leaders know that we are holding them accountable for their promises to end poverty by 2015.

What qualifies as a STAND UP event?

A STAND UP event can be almost anything – a concert, vigil, picnic. It can take place anywhere: at work, in the streets, at the family dinner table, or classroom. The only requirement is that there must be a time when everyone reads a poverty pledge and STANDS UP for 1 minute to be counted for the Guinness World Record.

What are PSAC members doing?

On October 16 and 17, PSAC members will be joining people around the world by standing up and speaking out at their own events. To be counted, events in BC must take place between October 16 at 2:00 p.m. and October 17 at 2:00 p.m. To be included in the Stand Up and Speak Out count, please e-mail the following information to Janet St. Jean ( at PSAC’s Social Justice Fund no later than 8:00 p.m. (EST) on October 17.

  • Your Local/Branch
  • Date, time and location of your event
  • Number of people counted and;
  • Contact information

Note: members are encouraged to participate in the count by raising their hand if standing up is not possible.

Download the … (all .pdf)

For more information contact the Vancouver Regional Office.

How else can I get involved?

There are several other ways that you can be part of STAND UP and SPEAK OUT to Make Poverty History.

For more information visit:

PSAC member Be Gomes and the Terrace District Labour council successfully lobbies Terrace City Council to support the $10 minimum wage campaign.

source: The Terrace Standard.

TO ENSURE a healthy local economy and people’s survival, B.C.’S minimum wage must be raised to $10 an hour, according to a representative of the local labour council.

“Terrace is a perfect example,” Kitimat-Terrace & District Labour Council spokesperson Be Gomes says. Gomes attributes various job vacancies around town to potential workers not bothering to apply because of low wages.

“People can not afford to live off $8 an hour,” she said.

B.C.’s general minimum wage is $8 an hour though employees with little or no are categorized differently. The minimum wage for their first 500 hours of work is $6 an hour.

Gomes said many workers are also exhausted just trying to make ends meet. Her own daughter works two jobs a day for a total of 13.5 hours and is taking a year off school to save money. She was initially excited to be making money but quickly realized the minimum wage didn’t go far, Gomes said.

Gomes solicited the Terrace city council’s support for a minimum wage increase Sept. 10.


Dear Make Poverty History supporters,

I am writing to ask for your help in getting the Senate to pass Bill C-293 – the “Better Aid Bill”. Make Poverty History supports Bill C-293 as part of its call for not just more, but better aid. Bill C-293 would require Canadian foreign aid to contribute to poverty reduction; take into account the perspectives of the poor; and be consistent with Canada’s international human rights obligations.

The Senate will be recessing in June for the summer. We need to get Bill C-293 passed by the Senate before the summer break. Send an e-mail to the Senate leadership and let them know that you want them to act now to help make poverty history.

Gerry Barr, Make Poverty History co-chair

People living with HIV/AIDS and other life threatening conditions cannot wait any longer for affordable, generic versions of life-saving drugs. It is time to fix Canada’s Access to Medicines Regime.

Three years ago, Canada was a clear leader on the international stage when it passed a law intended to make essential, generic medicines available, in low- and middle-income countries where there is no generic manufacturing industry.

Unfortunately, the law does not work. Since the legislation passed 2004, not a single pill has left Canada. The drug order process is taking far too much time and effort to be effective.


By Dennis Howlett, Coordinator, Make Poverty History

MPH banner

There is little or nothing in the 2007 Federal Budget that will help to make poverty history.

Several measures that appear to address poverty, on closer examination turn out to be inferior versions of previous Liberal initiatives or actually deliver more benefit to rich families and less or nothing to poor children who need assistance the most.

A case in point is the Child Tax /Credit/ announced in this Conservative budget, which should not be confused with the Canada Child Tax /Benefit/ that Make Poverty History has been campaigning to have increased to $5100 per child. The Conservative Child Tax /Credit/ will do absolutely nothing for the poorest children whose families have no taxable income.


Dear PSAC Members:

Please join the campaign to raise the minimum wage! The lowest paid workers in BC need our support.

I’m asking you to support the campaign to boost the minimum wage in BC to at least $10 an hour and to eliminate the $6 ”training rate” for new workers (AKA another subsidy for big business.).

The Campbell government has frozen the minimum wage at $8 since November 2001. The labour movement says five years without a raise is too long. Minimum-waged workers in BC cannot live on their wages. We’re calling for an immediate increase to at least $10, closely followed by regular future increases that are tied to cost of living increases.

A minimum wage of at least $10 would benefit 115,000 workers who earn the minimum, plus another 135,000 workers who make less than $10 per hour.

Please click on the following link to go to the B.C. Federation of Labour campaign site and join thousands of people by signing the $10 NOW petition.

Please forward this link to friends and family who also support the call to raise the minimum wage. Thank you.

In solidarity, Kay Sinclair, Regional Executive Vice-President, BC

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